January 27, 2011
Gaborone - An appeals court in Botswana has ruled that indigenous dwellers in one of the driest parts of the world can now drill wells for water.
The Botswana Court of Appeals on Thursday said the Bushmen people were entitled to excavate new wells and could use a well already established on their traditional land in the Kalahari Game Reserve.
This decision overturns a ruling in July that took away the Bushmen people's rights to drill.
In 2006, another court allowed the Bushmen to return to desert-like homelands where diamond mining claims and a new luxury tourist lodge led to their eviction by the government.
Hundreds of Bushmen, or Basarwa, returned and their leaders protested that they were denied water to drive them away again.
Comment: In early 2010 the UN released a report that was very critical of Botswana's treatment of the Basarwa and Bakgalagadi people, particularly concerning the issue of access to water in Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
The government did not seem to care but that may have just been a front. Though who can forget President Khama calling the Basarwa "backward" and "primitive" last month.
I am pleased to see the Appeals court ruling. Now its over to President Khama to f*ck this one up too.